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  • Category: Improve Your English

    Can you be a new Wordmith

    In one of my lower classes there was a lesson in which it was mentioned how two linguistic scholars chided at each other using very intelligent word formations, which apparently looked nice on the face of it, but had indirect chiding.

    For example one addressed the other as "Gajamukha vaahanaripunayana" and the other immediately retorted with' Dasarathanandana sakhivadana".
    Let us see the analytical explanation. Gajamukha – Elephant faced -i.e. Lord Ganesha. Gajamukha Vaahana is the vehicle of Ganesha-i.e. mouse. Gajamukhavaahanaripunayana is one having the eyes of the enemy of the vehicle of Gajamukha" - enemy of rat meaning cat. So the final meaning is cat-eyed. He called the other person a cat-eyed which is a little demeaning.

    Similarly " Dasarathanadana sakhi vadana meant 'one who is having the face of the friends of Dasaratha' son. Dasaratha's on Lord Rama had the friendship of monkeys and hence (the meaning here is) one who has the face of Rama's friends Monkey or plainly 'Monkey-faced'.

    We can find many such built up words in Sanskrit literature and even in common slokas we render daily. I guess there may be such similar words in many Indian languages too, as most of them have roots in or influence of Sanskrit.

    I am aware there are many such long compound and complex words in modern English usage, but almost all of them are technical names related to medicines and medical field.

    Can you give some examples from English from literature or common usage? What such words are called in Grammar?
  • #761029
    There will be such many words in other languages also. There are many such words in Telugu also. My grandfather used to tell such words in Sanskrit and Telugu. There are some poems which will be like the above only. The entire poem will tell a name of a person indirectly. These words will not give a straightforward meaning.
    But I don't know if any such words are available in English. There are many expert members on this website who may come out with some good examples.

    always confident

  • #761051
    Sanskrit is a language where compounding the words is very popular and long words are made by adding a number of words. The structure of the Sanskrit language is like that only and there are so many ancient Hindu books in Sanskrit where such compositions are found. Experts take a lot of time in deciphering the meaning of those long words. I have not seen such a thing in other languages that I know but yes in the English language long back I found a word which I referred to in the dictionary also (probably Oxford dictionary) but that is now not shown in the dictionary being an obsolete word. That word was 'honourificabilitudinity' and incidentally, the meaning of the word was only 'honour'. So I was surprised to see that but such words generally get obsolete with time.
    Knowledge is power.

  • #761056
    I think the author is talking about 'wordsmithing.'

    Smithing is doing metal work e.g., blacksmiths work on iron metal, and goldsmith works on gold metal. They melt, twist and forge metals to create implements and ornaments. Similarly, writers play with words to create ideas and thoughts. Therefore, they are called a wordsmith.

    Gold like metals are ductile, lustrous and precious. It is possible for a goldsmith to create heavenly ornaments by working on Gold. Sanskrit language is like gold metal. Therefore it is possible for wordsmith scholars of Sanskrit language to create examples cited by the author.

    Metals like Tungsten are hard to melt and work upon easily. The same is the case with many languages also.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

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